If you want to see an unexpected, delightful film that will have you dancing in your seat, then you’ve got to see “The Sapphires.”
Inspired by a true story, the dramatic comedy follows four outspoken, young and talented Australian Aboriginal girls from a remote mission.
The three sisters and cousin knew they had the gift of song, and with the help of a wayward chap, they formed an all-girl group that could have rivaled The Supremes, or any other girl group that was popular in the late 1960s. They performed for U.S. troops in Vietnam, risking life and limb to bring a whole lot of soul to the young men fighting in the war.
“The Sapphires” is that rare movie that manages to touch your spirit, your soul, and your funny bone. It is a window into the history of a people, who much like the Native Americans, and African Americans suffered racism, genocide and separatism.
In the movie’s beginning, we see four little girls joyfully singing in front of proud friends and family on a makeshift stage. And then all hell breaks loose–adults are running and screaming, children are hiding and crying. The scene introduces audiences to a familiar story faced by Native Americans in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, whereby the children were ripped from their homes and placed in boarding schools in an effort to educate them according to Euro-American standards. Australian officials were enacting a similar policy, only they were taking the children that could pass for White. In both cases these children were stripped of their heritage and rarely saw their families again or looked at them in the same way.
The little girls grew into teenagers, and the three sisters never lost their zeal for singing. With the blessing of their parents, they traveled to a local town to take part in a singing contest. There they met Dave (Chris O’Dowd) who recognized their talent, and changed their lives forever.
Dave promptly tells the girls they have no business singing Country-Western music, because that’s not what Black people do. However, one of the girls shoots back “What about Charlie Pride?” Dave ignores her comment and introduces Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell), Gail (Deborah Mailman), and Julie (Jessica Mauboy) to the soul music of the ”60s, and they make it their own.
In the meantime their wise family members remind them of the fourth member, Kay (Shari Sebbens) who happened to be taken by the government as a child and raised White. There was bad blood between Gail and Kay, but that didn’t stop them from getting back together.
The movie takes you through the sights and sounds of the Vietnam War, and America’s turbulent ’60s.
But “The Sapphires” never lose sight of what this movie was about, four young girls having the experience of a lifetime.
“The Sapphires” was co-written by Tony Briggs the son of Laurel Robinson, one of the real Sapphires.
Tony says: “I really started writing the story of the Sapphires when I was having conversations with mum, probably in, I’d say, 2000. I noticed that she would be mentioning Vietnam a lot. And I knew about it, of course, but I’d never really asked her about it. It occurred to me that there was a lot of history that I’ve been missing out on simply because I haven’t been asking.
“The Sapphires” made their debut on stage and became a major hit. And now it’s in theaters for everyone to enjoy.
You can visit the website at http://thesapphires-movie.com/ and for a more in-depth look at the film and hear from one of the original Sapphires, Laurel Robinson and her son co-writer, Briggs, by clicking on the link: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3558633.htm
It’s a great movie, don’t miss it.
Now showing at The Landmark Theater, 10850 W. Pico Blvd., at Westwood Boulevard. Showtimes and Information: (310) 470-0492.
Gail can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.